Rare Book Monthly Articles - February - 2010 Issue

Hammer2009

Book Auction Prices Declined in 2009...<i>But...</i>

By Michael Stillman

A detailed look at book auction results for 2009 reveals that virtually every important number was down. The most telling number - median sales price - was down. Sell through rates were down. The ratio of items sold above the high estimate to those sold below the low estimate was down. The number of auctions held and number of items offered were down. So why are we celebrating these seemingly woeful results? The answer is that these declines, particularly in terms of median price, were surprisingly small. We expected a much steeper decline, but the drop in median pric...

Noimage

A Page from the Future

By Bruce McKinney

For years, the changing economics of booksellers’ catalogues have caused headaches for booksellers. In decades past, such catalogues were often substantial; the number of items...

Halas-volk

Bookselling - It's a Business: Year and Decade in Review

By Susan Halas & Chris Volk

Many independent booksellers found 2009 was a better than expected year with a stronger than expected finish. It was also marked the end of a decade when everyone...

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Heritage: Two Sales in Beverly Hills

By Bruce McKinney

Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, the ascendant auction house rising from the flat lands of Texas, is entering the west coast collectibles auction market - bringing its uni...

Rhsbooktheft

<i>In The News:</i> "Tome Raider" In Jail Again, Book Returned 90 Years Late, New Publications

By Michael Stillman

It was a most unmerry Christmas for book thief William Jacques. Jacques is England's notorious "Tome Raider" of the 1990s, who allegedly did not learn his lesson. As they say...

Wrightpacking01

To Reuse or Not to Reuse, That is the Question

By Karen Wright

Wow! When I put a call out to two different booksellers' organizations, IOBA and my ABS group, asking for comments and opinions about wrapping books in new or reused materials, ...

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LA: A Hot Spot for Books in February

By Bruce McKinney

The ABAA, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America, stages its biennial Book Fair in Los Angeles at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza from February 12-14. The ABAA ex...

Kindle v books

Printed Books vs. E-Readers: We're Ready to Make a Call

By Michael Stillman

There were several developments and news items concerning electronic readers appearing over the past few weeks, and while we will attempt to summarize a few of them, we don't...

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The Loot Returns

By Bruce McKinney

Sotheby's recently completed an exhibition of material from the James S. Copley collection of printed and manuscript Americana that will be sold beginning later this year. The...

Rushu

Rare Book Library Sells 3,700 Book Collection

By Michael Stillman

It was one of the largest, single owner book sales in recent memory, but it passed by virtually unnoticed. This was not an ordinary sale, as it also involved the extremely to...

Noimage

Important Maps to test the Market

By Bruce McKinney

In a day or two Sotheby's will add an auction to its calendar. It will be the necessary next step for Frank Benevento, a map collector who entered the collecting field a decad...

Northern lighthouse

British Lighthouse Board Sells Collection of Early Voyage Books

By Michael Stillman

Much of a distinguished institutional book collection, hundreds of years in the making, went up for sale in January, with the results much better than anticipated. There's al...

Cats02-10

Eight New Catalogues Reviewed This Month

This month we review eight new booksellers' catalogues. David Lesser Antiquarian Books focuses on Americana, while Clark Rare Books features primarily the American West. Librairie Thomas-Scheler, o...

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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